LOVING CHLOE by Jo-Ann Mapson


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 Tough love and the love of horses go hand and hand in this conventional but fairly skillful sequel to Mapson's well-received novel about mismatched lovers, Hank and Chloe (1993). Loving Chloe literally begins where Hank and Chloe finished. Hapless horsewoman Chloe pulls her truck up in front of the northern Arizona cabin that Hank, her former lover, has inherited from his grandmother. A gentle former professor of folklore, Hank has been wishing that hard-edged Chloe would finally get it together and come back to him. And indeed she does: for Chloe's pregnant. Before she can kick off her Tony Lamas, the two are once again passionately entwined and sharing dry, self-deprecating jokes. ``This feels so right,'' says Hank, delighted by the prospect of becoming a father. Meanwhile, Junior Whitebear, a famous Navajo jeweler, returns to the nearby reservation after eight years away. Whitebear, a man of integrity, tenderness, and humor, arrives just in time to play midwife, delivering Chloe's baby in a wrenching birth scene. Readers of Hank and Chloe will remember that the couple originally met during the messy birth of a foal, Chloe getting covered by the blood of the dead mare. This time, she's the mare in trouble. And--wouldn't you know?--soon after she and Hank become parents, Chloe finds herself irresistibly attracted to the savior Whitebear. Mapson, in fact, packs in so much story here that at times the novel reads like a partial outline for number three in her series--with the real flaw that the conclusion seems tacked-on and too neat to suit the raw emotions of its characters. Still, Mapson knows how people behave under the influence of pain, and she captures--evocatively--the unique setting of the Southwest. Though predictable in a sexy, country-western ballad way, also as lyrical and memorable as any romantic melody. (Literary Guild selection)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-06-017217-7
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1997


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